For years, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson shared the same mat space, coaches and training areas as part of Team Quest, and even though they don’t train full time together any longer, they will always be close friends and teammates.
But Sonnen’s dedication to his friend doesn’t necessarily stop him from analyzing and breaking down a fight, and that’s why he’s picking Henderson to defeat UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the main event for UFC 151.
While Sonnen’s recent tirades have been aimed directly at Jones because the ‘American Gangster’ from West Linn, Oregon is moving into the same weight class, he looks at this fight as a match-up between the two best fighters at 205lbs.
Sonnen just happens to favor Henderson in the fight.
“I believe in Hendo and so should you,” Sonnen said. “If you look at Jon Jones and think of a man who can beat him, you would think of someone with great KO power, the best chin in the sport because, with his reach, Jones is going to hit you, great wrestling and a relentlessly aggressive style. That man already exists – and his name is Dan Henderson.”
For all the grief that Sonnen has been giving Jones lately via Twitter, the former middleweight title contender can still admit when a fighter is simply great. Sonnen pays Jones his dues for being one of the most dominant fighters he’s ever seen, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get beat and that doesn’t mean he won’t lose the UFC light heavyweight title on Sept 1.
“This fight on September 1 is a fight to determine who is the greatest ever light heavyweight. I give Jon Jones his due as a great fighter. He’s beaten some outstanding fighters already and looked impressive each time. He’s already accomplished so much in the sport. Just not as much as Dan Henderson,” Sonnen stated.
Henderson’s record and accolades speak for themselves, but Sonnen backs up his teammate with a lot of facts that point to him being one of the greatest fighters of this or any era.
“Everyone talks about pound-for-pound champions and pound-for-pound achievements. But if you look at what pound-for-pound should mean – who has the ability to beat small fast guys, the ability to knockout big, strong guys, to move through the divisions with your skill-set and win – the only conclusion a rational person would make is Dan Henderson is the pound-for-pound greatest of all time,” Sonnen said.
“Dan beat the 170lbs champion in Carlos Newton, he’s won the PRIDE 183lbs title, the PRIDE 205lbs title, the Strikeforce 205lbs title, and he’s won the two great tournaments in our sport, the UFC tournament back in the day and the PRIDE Grand Prix. All in all he’s beaten 11 world champions in his career. The man is the best of all time. That is who Jon Jones is facing.
“Jones is a talented kid but he’s taking on a man, and I’d bet on the man any day of the week.”
Henderson will get the chance to back up Sonnen’s predication at UFC 151 in Las Vegas when he faces Jon Jones with the UFC light heavyweight title on the line.